Concept: Humoral immunity
It is widely accepted that aging is accompanied by remodelling of the immune system including thymic atrophy and increased frequency of senescent T cells, leading to immune compromise. However, physical activity, which influences immunity but declines dramatically with age, is not considered in this literature. We assessed immune profiles in 125 adults (55-79 years) who had maintained a high level of physical activity (cycling) for much of their adult lives, 75 age-matched older adults and 55 young adults not involved in regular exercise. The frequency of naïve T cells and recent thymic emigrants (RTE) were both higher in cyclists compared with inactive elders, and RTE frequency in cyclists was no different to young adults. Compared with their less active counterparts, the cyclists had significantly higher serum levels of the thymoprotective cytokine IL-7 and lower IL-6, which promotes thymic atrophy. Cyclists also showed additional evidence of reduced immunesenescence, namely lower Th17 polarization and higher B regulatory cell frequency than inactive elders. Physical activity did not protect against all aspects of immunesenescence: CD28-veCD57+vesenescent CD8 T-cell frequency did not differ between cyclists and inactive elders. We conclude that many features of immunesenescence may be driven by reduced physical activity with age.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published almost 4 years ago
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a lineage C betacoronavirus that since its emergence in 2012 has caused outbreaks in human populations with case-fatality rates of ∼36%. As in other coronaviruses, the spike (S) glycoprotein of MERS-CoV mediates receptor recognition and membrane fusion and is the primary target of the humoral immune response during infection. Here we use structure-based design to develop a generalizable strategy for retaining coronavirus S proteins in the antigenically optimal prefusion conformation and demonstrate that our engineered immunogen is able to elicit high neutralizing antibody titers against MERS-CoV. We also determined high-resolution structures of the trimeric MERS-CoV S ectodomain in complex with G4, a stem-directed neutralizing antibody. The structures reveal that G4 recognizes a glycosylated loop that is variable among coronaviruses and they define four conformational states of the trimer wherein each receptor-binding domain is either tightly packed at the membrane-distal apex or rotated into a receptor-accessible conformation. Our studies suggest a potential mechanism for fusion initiation through sequential receptor-binding events and provide a foundation for the structure-based design of coronavirus vaccines.
Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient for humans, with pleiotropic functions related to its ability to donate electrons. It is a potent antioxidant and a cofactor for a family of biosynthetic and gene regulatory enzymes. Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Vitamin C supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens and promotes the oxidant scavenging activity of the skin, thereby potentially protecting against environmental oxidative stress. Vitamin C accumulates in phagocytic cells, such as neutrophils, and can enhance chemotaxis, phagocytosis, generation of reactive oxygen species, and ultimately microbial killing. It is also needed for apoptosis and clearance of the spent neutrophils from sites of infection by macrophages, thereby decreasing necrosis/NETosis and potential tissue damage. The role of vitamin C in lymphocytes is less clear, but it has been shown to enhance differentiation and proliferation of B- and T-cells, likely due to its gene regulating effects. Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. In turn, infections significantly impact on vitamin C levels due to enhanced inflammation and metabolic requirements. Furthermore, supplementation with vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections. Prophylactic prevention of infection requires dietary vitamin C intakes that provide at least adequate, if not saturating plasma levels (i.e., 100-200 mg/day), which optimize cell and tissue levels. In contrast, treatment of established infections requires significantly higher (gram) doses of the vitamin to compensate for the increased inflammatory response and metabolic demand.
The adaptive immune system restrains Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis by modulating microglial function
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published over 5 years ago
The innate immune system is strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In contrast, the role of adaptive immunity in AD remains largely unknown. However, numerous clinical trials are testing vaccination strategies for AD, suggesting that T and B cells play a pivotal role in this disease. To test the hypothesis that adaptive immunity influences AD pathogenesis, we generated an immune-deficient AD mouse model that lacks T, B, and natural killer (NK) cells. The resulting “Rag-5xfAD” mice exhibit a greater than twofold increase in β-amyloid (Aβ) pathology. Gene expression analysis of the brain implicates altered innate and adaptive immune pathways, including changes in cytokine/chemokine signaling and decreased Ig-mediated processes. Neuroinflammation is also greatly exacerbated in Rag-5xfAD mice as indicated by a shift in microglial phenotype, increased cytokine production, and reduced phagocytic capacity. In contrast, immune-intact 5xfAD mice exhibit elevated levels of nonamyloid reactive IgGs in association with microglia, and treatment of Rag-5xfAD mice or microglial cells with preimmune IgG enhances Aβ clearance. Last, we performed bone marrow transplantation studies in Rag-5xfAD mice, revealing that replacement of these missing adaptive immune populations can dramatically reduce AD pathology. Taken together, these data strongly suggest that adaptive immune cell populations play an important role in restraining AD pathology. In contrast, depletion of B cells and their appropriate activation by T cells leads to a loss of adaptive-innate immunity cross talk and accelerated disease progression.
Comparative genomic and/or transcriptomic analyses involving elasmobranchs remain limited, with genome level comparisons of the elasmobranch immune system to that of higher vertebrates, non-existent. This paper reports a comparative RNA-seq analysis of heart tissue from seven species, including four elasmobranchs and three teleosts, focusing on immunity, but concomitantly seeking to identify genetic similarities shared by the two lamnid sharks and the single billfish in our study, which could be linked to convergent evolution of regional endothermy.
- Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society
- Published over 5 years ago
This article reviews the development of the immune response through neonatal, infant and adult life, including pregnancy, ending with the decline in old age. A picture emerges of a child born with an immature, innate and adaptive immune system, which matures and acquires memory as he or she grows. It then goes into decline in old age. These changes are considered alongside the risks of different types of infection, autoimmune disease and malignancy.
Insects counter infection with innate immune responses that rely on cells called hemocytes. Hemocytes exist in association with the insect’s open circulatory system and this mode of existence has likely influenced the organization and control of anti-pathogen immune responses. Previous studies reported that pathogens in the mosquito body cavity (hemocoel) accumulate on the surface of the heart. Using novel cell staining, microdissection and intravital imaging techniques, we investigated the mechanism of pathogen accumulation in the pericardium of the malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and discovered a novel insect immune tissue, herein named periostial hemocytes, that sequesters pathogens as they flow with the hemolymph. Specifically, we show that there are two types of endocytic cells that flank the heart: periostial hemocytes and pericardial cells. Resident periostial hemocytes engage in the rapid phagocytosis of pathogens, and during the course of a bacterial or Plasmodium infection, circulating hemocytes migrate to the periostial regions where they bind the cardiac musculature and each other, and continue the phagocytosis of invaders. Periostial hemocyte aggregation occurs in a time- and infection dose-dependent manner, and once this immune process is triggered, the number of periostial hemocytes remains elevated for the lifetime of the mosquito. Finally, the soluble immune elicitors peptidoglycan and β-1,3-glucan also induce periostial hemocyte aggregation, indicating that this is a generalized and basal immune response that is induced by diverse immune stimuli. These data describe a novel insect cellular immune response that fundamentally relies on the physiological interaction between the insect circulatory and immune systems.
NLRs (nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich-repeat-containing receptors; NOD-like receptors) are a class of pattern recognition receptor (PRR) that respond to host perturbation from either infectious agents or cellular stress. The function of most NLR family members has not been characterized and their role in instructing adaptive immune responses remains unclear. NLRP10 (also known as PYNOD, NALP10, PAN5 and NOD8) is the only NLR lacking the putative ligand-binding leucine-rich-repeat domain, and has been postulated to be a negative regulator of other NLR members, including NLRP3 (refs 4-6). We did not find evidence that NLRP10 functions through an inflammasome to regulate caspase-1 activity nor that it regulates other inflammasomes. Instead, Nlrp10(-/-) mice had a profound defect in helper T-cell-driven immune responses to a diverse array of adjuvants, including lipopolysaccharide, aluminium hydroxide and complete Freund’s adjuvant. Adaptive immunity was impaired in the absence of NLRP10 because of a dendritic cell (DC) intrinsic defect in emigration from inflamed tissues, whereas upregulation of DC costimulatory molecules and chemotaxis to CCR7-dependent and -independent ligands remained intact. The loss of antigen transport to the draining lymph nodes by a subset of migratory DCs resulted in an almost absolute loss in naive CD4(+) T-cell priming, highlighting the critical link between diverse innate immune stimulation, NLRP10 activity and the immune function of mature DCs.
The innate immune system plays important roles in a number of disparate processes. Foremost, innate immunity is a first responder to invasion by pathogens and triggers early defensive responses and recruits the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system also responds to endogenous damage signals that arise from tissue injury. Recently it has been found that innate immunity plays an important role in neuroprotection against ischemic stroke through the activation of the primary innate immune receptors, Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Using several large-scale transcriptomic data sets from mouse and mouse macrophage studies we identified targets predicted to be important in controlling innate immune processes initiated by TLR activation. Targets were identified as genes with high betweenness centrality, so-called bottlenecks, in networks inferred from statistical associations between gene expression patterns. A small set of putative bottlenecks were identified in each of the data sets investigated including interferon-stimulated genes (Ifit1, Ifi47, Tgtp and Oasl2) as well as genes uncharacterized in immune responses (Axud1 and Ppp1r15a). We further validated one of these targets, Ifit1, in mouse macrophages by showing that silencing it suppresses induction of predicted downstream genes by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated TLR4 activation through an unknown direct or indirect mechanism. Our study demonstrates the utility of network analysis for identification of interesting targets related to innate immune function, and highlights that Ifit1 can exert a positive regulatory effect on downstream genes.
The characteristics of the T cell response to the members of oral flora are poorly understood. We characterized the antibody and T cell responses to FadA and Td92, adhesins from Fusobacterium nucleatum, an oral commensal, and Treponema denticola, a periodontal pathogen, respectively. Peripheral blood and saliva were obtained from healthy individuals and patients with untreated chronic periodontitis (CP, n = 11 paris) and after successful treatment of the disease (n = 9). The levels of antigen-specific antibody were measured by ELISA. In plasma, IgG1 was the most abundant isotype of Ab for both Ags, followed by IgA and then IgG4. The levels of FadA-specific salivary IgA (sIgA) were higher than Td92-specific sIgA and the FadA-specific IgA levels observed in plasma. However, the periodontal health status of the individuals did not affect the levels of FadA- or Td92-specific antibody. Even healthy individuals contained FadA- and Td92-specific CD4(+) T cells, as determined by the detection of intracytoplasmic CD154 after short-term in vitro stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with the antigens. Patients with CP tended to possess increased numbers of FadA- and Td92-specific CD4(+) T cells but reduced numbers of Td92-specific Foxp3(+)CD4(+) Tregs than the healthy subjects. Both FadA and Td92 induced the production of IFNγ and IL-10 but inhibited the secretion of IL-4 by PBMCs. In conclusion, F. nucleatum induced Th3 (sIgA)- and Th1 (IFNγ and IgG1)-dominant immune responses, whereas T. denticola induced a Th1 (IFNγ and IgG1)-dominant response. This IFNγ-dominant cytokine response was impaired in CP patients, and the Td92-induced IFNγ levels were negatively associated with periodontal destruction in patients. These findings may provide new insights into the homeostatic interaction between the immune system and oral bacteria and the pathogenesis of periodontitis.